Hip Hip Hooray, or Don’t Bother Answering the Bell
I don’t know if Derek Dooley’s hip injury came as he accompanied Robert Jordan’s bid to blow up a bridge in Spain or not, but this week’s visit by the Vols to the land of cows and their bells has me thinking about John Donne and Ernest Hemmingway.
No man is an island… And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”
Thus spake John Donne while recovering from a near fatal illness.
Derek Dooley’s convalescence won’t take as long. His hip surgery, performed on Tuesday, can’t keep the good man down, for the coach will be running the show from up in the booth. It just might be the relaxation of the building tension that shakes things up to the point of betterment.
We know for whom the cowbells will be tolling on Saturday night. They toll for Sir Derek. For this could be termed a bell-weather game. A win could set this team, and this program, on the upward path that has been sought for two and a half years. A loss could be the beginning of the final chapter of Dooley’s reign as the taskmaster of Tennessee football.
Just like Hemmingway’s famous novel on the brutality of civil war, or any war for that matter, but especially civil war, this upcoming game has the potential to harbor paramount issues such as death, camaraderie, sacrifice, and suicide.
The death of this season, and of Dooley as the Tennessee’s head coach, is the preoccupation of the VolNation.
The camaraderie and sacrifice in the face of such a death is what will be required of Dooley’s players to survive this game and the remainder of this season. Otherwise, suicide – giving up – is always in the toolbox of failure.
“Did thee feel the earth move?”
Let’s hope we do.